Torture, American style

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Ben Cohen
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A great article on the appalling treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo:

By Robert Scheer

Ah
yes, those torture confessions have proved so useful. That, at least,
was the claim of our president in justifying one of the most egregious
assaults ever on this nation’s commitment to the rule of law. But now
comes news that charges have been dropped against the so-called Sept.
11 attacks’ 20th hijacker, one of dozens so identified, because the
“evidence” he supplied under torture and later recanted is not credible
enough to go to trial.

That fact, of
course, will not compel President Bush to cut the tortured prisoner
loose. After all, Saudi citizen Mohammed al-Qahtani has only been held
in confinement for more than six years without being charged with a
crime, and without being allowed to confront his accusers in a court of
law.

The fact that the
information produced is worthless—as evidenced by Qahtani, once driven
insane, naming everyone around him in the camp as a major al-Qaida
operative—will not deter those who condone torture. But others expert
in these matters, including presumptive Republican presidential nominee
John McCain, will recoil from such tactics.

It was the
treatment of Qahtani and other prisoners, as witnessed by horrified
U.S. Navy Department investigators at Guantanamo, that got the
attention of the Navy’s then-General Counsel Alberto J. Mora. In one of
those all too rare examples of true heroism that makes one proud to be
an American, Mora challenged the Bush administration to practice the
human rights standards that America proclaims to the world. But Bush
would stay true to his own values: “Any activity we conduct is within
the law,” Bush stated in November 2005, adding, “We do not torture.”

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